AKP
Some 40 medical chambers affiliated with the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) have released a joint statement reiterating their support for the organization. “We are fortunate to have our professional organization that prioritizes and defends the right of public health, and does not compromise when it comes to scientific and free thinking," the chambers said, following MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli's call for the TTB's closure.
If parliamentary elections were held today in Turkey, ultranationalist MHP would receive 6.5 percent of the votes, a recent survey revealed. The MHP serve as alliance partner to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), who polled at 37.2, indicating that more than half of the respondents favored parties outside the ruling coalition or were undecided.
Once a self-sufficient state in farming, Turkey imported $3.5 billion of agricultural goods in the first seven months of the year, a number that will likely double by December, main opposition CHP deeputy Okan Gaytancıoğlu said. He claimed that traders close to the ruling AKP benefit from imports while domestic producers keep losing money.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has reportedly been working on an online voting system as a precaution against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to Hürriyet, the AKP seeks to add an article that allows all parties to hold online congresses ahead of elections.
The Patriotic Party led by Doğu Perinçek has expelled one of its prominent figures for opposing the party's stance on siding with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Çiçek's criticism of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and pro-government businessman Ethem Sancak were listed among the reasons for expulsion.
Turkey's main opposition CHP has deemed the return of seismic research vessel Oruç Reis to its base in Antalya "a compromise," while also calling on the government to "not make compromises in our rightful cause" following an extraordinary meeting on the escalating tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
Today, Ankara is not Wuhan. Wuhan is a good example compared to our capital city. Today, Ankara is a construction site. Ankara residents have to remind the city again that they do not want a municipal administration that works for contractors — alongside a presidential system that works for contractors.
Turkish experts have protested a Turkish private university in North Macedonia as it admits law students without the requirement of the national higher education exam, although alumni are permitted to practice law in Turkey. HDP deputy Rüştü Tiryaki called on AKP deputy Mustafa Şentop, who is the board honorary chairman of the university in question, to explain why Turkish education watchdog YÖK's accreditation guidelines are being violated for this specific university.
A number of officials from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have violated the COVID-19 precautions at the wedding ceremony of a lawmaker's son on Sept. 5. Food and beverages were served to customers, in violation of a recent Interior Ministry decree. The wedding also violated a July 24 decree that had banned guests from approaching the couple to pin their gifts on their outfits, often gold or money.
A group of lawyers in Istanbul and Ankara have come together in an attempt to form separate bar associations in the provinces. However, as their numbers have not yet reached 2,000, they have lost their chance to send delegations for elections of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) which is set to be held in October.
Turkey’s media watchdog RTÜK has ordered Netflix to remove the French-made feature film Cuties on grounds that it contains images of child exploitation. The plot of "Cuties" centres on an 11-year-old Muslim girl who "starts to rebel against her conservative family's traditions when she becomes fascinated with a free-spirited dance crew," according to Netflix.
Ülkü Doğanay writes: It is not difficult to understand that Erdoğan and the ruling AKP do not like the possibility that Ekrem İmamoğlu might become the presidential candidate for the Nation Alliance. The government would prefer Muharrem İnce to be the opposition bloc's presidential candidate. The recent generous coverage of İnce by the pro-government media also mirrors this.
Top Turkish government officials have slammed a U.S. decision to lift for one year its 33-year arms embargo on Cyprus to allow the sale of “non-lethal” military goods to the island. Turkish government officials have warned that this "unjust decision" has the potential to damage the peace on the island and also to increase the tension in the Mediterranean between Turkey and Greece.
Ruling AKP deputy Tamer Akkal on Sept. 2 tweeted an insulting message targeting former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and his two daughters, a day after the jailed Kurdish politician's wife said Demirtaş has not been allowed to see both of his children together since the outbreak of the COVID-19. After Akkal's tweet has received widespread criticism, he claimed that one of his advisers had published the content “accidentally” via his official account.
President Erdoğan on Sept. 1 called for the expulsion of lawyers from the profession should they be accused of links to "terrorism." Erdoğan's comments came after a picture of lawyer Ebru Timtik was hung outside the headquarters of the Istanbul Bar Association. Timtik died in an Istanbul hospital on Aug. 27 after a 238-day hunger strike with a demand for a fair trial.
Editor's Pick
Soner Çağaptay and Raffaella A. Del Sarto write: The EU often praises itself as a promoter of democracy and regional stability by highlighting the power of its enlargement process to include new members in the “neighbourhood.” Yet in the case of Turkey, its ill-conceived policies may well have contributed to the opposite. A clumsy EU has repeatedly gotten its policy toward Turkey wrong, often inadvertently helping Erdoğan at key points during his rise while creating preventable tensions with Ankara.
Politics
President Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint with Turkish authorities against prominent Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders saying that he had insulted him on social media. "Even though the crime was committed directly against the person in the presidential seat, the value that is being violated is the state's political government structure," Erdoğan's lawyers said.
Turkish police have apprehended seven ISIS militants who were preparing for attacks in the capital Ankara in the latest round of operations against the jihadist group. According to authorities, the militants were seeking to attack Oct. 29 Republic Day celebrations and Nov. 10 ceremonies that are held each year to commemorate Turkey's founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu right in his case against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. While Turkish courts ruled that Kılıçdaroğlu "attacked Erdoğan's personal rights" in two separate speeches in 2012, the ECHR ruled that the country violated the main opposition leader's freedom of expression.
A coal thermal power plant in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir is predicted to make more than 11 million people ill over the course of 35 years, a health impact report for the project revealed. The Right to Clean Air Plaform reported that the pollutants from the Alpu Coal Thermal Power Plant will spread to 24 provinces and destroy local farming land.
A group of miners from the Central Anatolian district of Ermenek set off once again on their march to demand unpaid wages, only to be met with a gendarmerie blockade on Oct. 26. In a video showing the miners' exchange with officers, one of them is heard saying "We are angry. We are hungry, that's why we're yelling. You can't yell!"
One of downtown Istanbul's last remaining green spaces was rezoned to allow construction despite the protest of locals. Also designated as an emergency meeting point, the green space was permitted for the construction of a 10-story building.
Turkey's southernmost province of Hatay was rocked by an explosion on Oct. 26 and authorities said that two militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) were nabbed following the blast. Hatay Governor Rahmi Doğan said that the two militants were a part of a group of four who had flown from the Syrian town of Manbij to the Amanos Mountains in Hatay using paramotors.
A report prepared by a number of civil society organizations regarding trials in Turkey prosecuting conscientious objectors to mandatory military service in the country has influenced the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers to pressure Turkey on recognizing the right to conscientious objection.
President Erdoğan and the newly-elected Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar on Oct. 26 voiced their support for a two-state solution on the divided island of Cyprus. "We believe a two-state solution must now be brought to the table with a realistic proposal," Erdoğan said. Erdoğan also said that he would visit Turkish Cyprus on Nov. 15 and expressed his desire to have a picnic at Varosha.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that at least 78 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels were killed and dozens more were injured in Russian airstrikes on a military training camp in Idlib. Those targeted were in a camp belonging to Faylaq al-Sham, the monitor said, adding that it was the deadliest attack since the ceasefire came into force in March.
The second indictment against human rights defender and businessman Osman Kavala presents no new grounds to justify his detention and is politically motivated, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in a statement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged the UNESCO to release its report on the restoration works in the iconic Hagia Sophia as soon as possible. Lavrov said that for Russia Hagia Sophia is particularly valuable from the spiritual point of view.
Twenty-eight of Istanbul's 39 districts have registered more than 50 percent increase in COVID-19 infections in the past week compared to the average of this month, said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca. “The increase rate is 50-60 percent in 11 districts, 60-70 percent in 10 districts, and 70-80 percent in seven districts,” he told reporters on Oct. 26.
A Canadian vehicle manufacturer has suspended the delivery of aircraft engines to Turkey in the wake of reports that some of those engines are being used on Turkish combat drones deployed by Azerbaijan in its conflict against Armenian forces over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Former main opposition CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu's lawyer has appealed to the Constitutional Court following two lower courts' refusal to retry him over violations of his rights to participate in politics and personal freedom.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told a worker to enjoy a nice cup of tea as the latter complained of not being able to bring home bread. Erdoğan said that the worker's plea sounded like a huge exaggeration, evoking infamous French ruler Marie-Antoinette who told the people to eat cake if they can't find bread.
A dynamite blast in the construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant damaged cars that were parked in the nearby lot, ANKA News Agency reported on Oct. 25. Locals have complained from the use of dynamite in the construction before, saying that the dust harms their crops, and the blasts have even cracked the walls of their homes.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Baku would use Turkish F-16 jets in case of an external attack on the country. "They've been asking me about why Turkish F-16s are here. I'm tired of answering. Everyone knows that the F-16s are waiting. They came here for a drill and our Turkish brothers kept them here for moral support. They'll see those F-16s if there is an external attack on us," Aliyev said.
Economy
Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has said that the economy is growing despite the tumbling Turkish Lira. The lira weakened to a record low on Oct. 26, hit by investor unease over the central bank's decision last week to keep its policy rate on hold and various sources of geopolitical concern. Strains in ties with the United States, a row with France, a dispute between Turkey and Greece over maritime rights and the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have all unsettled investors.
Turkish monthly inflation was almost four times greater than the official rate in September, according to a new model developed by a group of academics and researchers. According to the independent Inflation Research Group (ENAG)'s first published finding, consumer prices in September rose 3.61 percent from the previous month, compared to the official Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK)'s calculation of 0.97 percent increase.
Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez said on Oct. 22 Turkey will operate the gas field which it recently discovered in the Black Sea on its own, but it may cooperate with foreign firms in terms of detailed work and equipment. The minister's comments came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 17 Turkey had raised the estimated reserves of the field to 405 billion cubic meters after finding an additional 85 bcm.
The Turkish government has said that it "laughs off" boycotts imposed on Turkish products in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and United Arab Emirates. "We laugh off some countries' boycotts against Turkey. They should first learn to stand as independent countries," AKP deputy leader Numan Kurtulmuş said on Oct. 18.
Urban Beat
Turkey's southeastern city of Diyarbakır is nestled in Mesopotamia and has a deep legacy spanning millenniums and civilizations. A recent discovery on the 8000-year-old Amida Höyük archaeological site has unearthed an 1800-year-old heating system that was quite sophisticated for the time.
Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan's work that she created during her two prison sentences between 2016 and 2019 are on display in Turkey for the first time. The artist was jailed on terrorism charges and gained international fame after finishing her second sentence and holding a show at London's Tate Modern.
Turkey's Presidential Symphony Orchestra will thrive thanks to the completion of its long-awaited music hall, Conductor Cemi'i Can Deliorman said. Having been in the works for 25 years, the music hall's large auditorium can seat more than two thousand viewers.
Alterations on Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia reportedly violated guidelines mandated under the site's "UNESCO World Heritage" status. Converted within two weeks of the legal ruling that allowed Muslim worship, the ancient structure's mosaics were unlawfully covered up, and any work on it was deemed practically impossible, architectural publication Mimarlık Magazine reported.